Bird watching in Kidepo valley national park
Bird watching in Kidepo valley national park: Kidepo valley national park is a savannah protected area in the northeastern part of Uganda. The national park was gazetted in 1962 to protect different wildlife that was living in the park at that time. The present day Kidepo valley national park is home to over 77 mammals, and 476 bird species. These live in the savannah vegetation in the different corners of the park.
With over 476 bird species living in Kidepo valley national park, the protected area is a birder’s paradise and one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. A birding safari in Kidepo valley national park is very interesting because birder lovers get to see even the rare species as well as the endemic.
Kidepo valley national park is an area of grassland, montane, and savannah vegetation which are home to over 476 bird species. The wetland areas and the areas around the rivers Kidepo and Narus are home to a few waterbird species. About 12 bird species living in Kidepo valley national park are said not to be seen in any other area in Uganda.
The bird watching activity in Kidepo valley national park
The bird watching activity starts at any time of the day which can be morning or afternoon hours. The rangers brief the birders about the rules and regulations of the activity before heading to different areas of the park where birds tend to concentrate. In Kidepo valley national park, the best birding spots include Narus Valley, Namumukweny Valley, and areas around Apoka Rest Camp.
Bird watching in Kidepo valley national park lasts for 2 to 3 hours or even more. during bird watching, the notable bird species you will spot include ostrich, black coucal, Egyptian vulture, dark chanting goshawk, African moustached francolin, marsh tchagra, Karamoja aplis, superb starlings, scarlet chested sunbird, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Ethiopian swallow, greater krestel, pygmy falcon, rose-ringed parakeet, clapperton’s francolin, white-bellied go-away bird, and northern carmine bee-eater.
Other birds to see include Jackson’s hornbill, red-winged pytilia, African grey fly hoppe, golden pipit, steel blue whydah, rufous chatterer, purple grenadier, kori bustard, chestnut weaver, four-banded sand grouse, white crested turaco, bruce’s green pigeon, eastern violet backed sunbird, heuglin’s francolin, red-cheeked cordon bleu, hartlaub’s bustard, vinaceous dove, purple grenadier, red-winged lark, fan-tailed raven, singing bush lark, and bronze-winged courser among others.
What to pack for birding in Kidepo valley national park?
To enjoy the bird watching activity in Kidepo valley national park you need to go well prepared with the right birding essentials. Every birder going to Kidepo valley national park needs a birding book, pen, voice recorder, waterproof shoes, a rain jacket, a light backpack, a pair of binoculars, a camera, insect repellents, drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks among others.
How much is bird watching in Kidepo valley national park?
To carry out bird watching in Kidepo valley national park you need a bird watching permit which you can purchase from Uganda Wildlife Authority or park headquarters. On top of the birding permit, you need to have paid park entrance fees that will give you access to the national park. A single bird watching permit in Kidepo valley national park does cost $30 for foreign non-residents, $20 for foreign residents, and UGX20,000 citizens of East African member states.
Best time for bird watching in Kidepo valley national park
Birding in Kidepo valley national park is carried out throughout the year. However previous birders have discovered that some months are better than others. Months from November to April are the best for visiting Kidepo valley national park for birding activity. Some of the months are rainy while others are dry and regaerde as best time for bird watching in Kidepo so you need to go well prepared based on the month you are going to visit the park.
From November to April bird lovers will find lots of migratory birds in the park and this shall increase the number of birds to watch on a bird watching exercise. Bird lovers can do bird watching in other months and the dry seasons will find the park dry and birding trails easier to go through while in the wet season, you will find bird watching trails slippery.
Where to stay on your birding safari in Kidepo valley national park?
There are several accommodation facilities in Kidepo valley national park where tourists can stay on a birding safari. The lodges are very affordable and offer good services to tourists. These lodges include Nga Moru Wilderness Camp, Apoka Safari Lodge, Apoka Safari Camp, Adere Safari Lodge, Kidepo Savannah Lodge, Zebra Safari Lodge, and Karatunga Safari Camp among others.